Now, some of you may be saying "Billy, who are you to talk?" Well, let this be a "do as I say, and as I am doing, not as I did" situation. Everyone, from the fittest athletes to the most gluttonous slobs, can learn to cook healthfully.
And speaking of fit athletes and healthful cooking, Beijing Olympic double gold medalist swimmer (in freestyle) Garrett Weber-Gale is a self-proclaimed foodie, and, being an elite athlete, is also concerned with what he eats. In addition to that, however, Garrett has high blood pressure, and finds ways to make amazing food while being mindful of health concerns. You can read his blog at www.athleticfoodie.com (you can also use the link on the right side of this page).
Garrett has high blood pressure to deal with. In my family, we have HBP, but also diabetes, as well as some very picky eaters! The point is, we can all eat healthier, and it doesn't have to be hard!
OK now, on to the simple, easy steps!
- Use cooking spray, or put olive or vegetable oils into spray bottles, instead of pouring oil over food to coat.
- Try using sea salt instead of table or kosher salt. Sea salt is lower in sodium (and higher in potassium) than table salt.
- Instead of using butter and flour to thicken sauces, try pureeing steamed vegetables (carrots, tomatoes, and parsnips all work well) and using those to thicken! They add an extra layer of flavor, as well.
- Add (more) veggies to everything! When making mashed potatoes, add cauliflower or parsnips to the mix. Beef stew? You can do more than just carrots, onions, and celery! Try beans, sweet potatoes, winter squash, and peas! Making a fresh fruit smoothie? Try using 100% carrot juice instead of your usual liquid.
- Desperately seeking dessert? Instead of running for chocolate- and cream-based desserts or baked goods, why not try fresh fruit drizzled with a little melted chocolate? Strawberries, raspberries, pineapple, dried apricots, dried mango, and prunes are all great with a little chocolate. Or leave the chocolate behind all together, and achieve that savory taste by grilling some halved peaches or plums and drizzling with balsamic vinegar!
- Instead of frying or sauteing, try the three best healthy cooking methods: steaming, roasting, and grilling! Steaming quickly cooks veggies while retaining their vitamins, while the dry heat of roasting and grilling impart delicious flavor to whatever you're cooking without adding any fat!
- Whenever you can, make your own food. That way, you know exactly what you are putting into your body. Also, cooking is fun!